Advancing Climate Action Plan Initiatives and Supporting the Regional Decarbonization Framework
In January 2021, the County’s Board of Supervisors took actions to advance sustainability, address climate change and equity, and promote workforce development in the unincorporated area and throughout the region. This included approving new policy guidelines for the Climate Action Plan (CAP) Update and direction to develop the Regional Decarbonization Framework (RDF).
The RDF will provide a roadmap to decarbonize the entire region through suggested actions that can be taken by different agencies. The CAP Update will play an important role in supporting the RDF by implementing some of these actions within the unincorporated area.
Proposed Sustainability Actions
To advance County sustainability efforts and support the achievement of RDF goals, six actions will be brought to the Board of Supervisors for consideration on August 31st. These include actions that would kick-start greenhouse gas emission reductions from energy use and generation, transportation, and the natural environment. Together, the six proposed actions will assist with the development of new CAP measures that could be included in the CAP Update and highlight the County’s role in serving as regional leader in implementing RDF. The six actions for the Board’s consideration on August 31, 2022, include:
County Facilities Zero Carbon Portfolio Plan
The County Facilities Zero Carbon Portfolio Plan, in place since April 2022, outlines efforts to cut County facilities emissions through six measures. The Board will receive an update on this plan, which will result in a 90% reduction in County operational GHG emissions by 2030. This goal would be achieved by purchasing energy for County facilities from 100% renewable sources by 2030, transitioning natural gas equipment at existing County facilities to electric alternatives, continuing to build all new County facilities to be zero net energy and all electric, continuing to pursue energy efficiency projects, actively managing energy use to avoid waste, and purchasing a solar facility serving the County Operations Center when the lease allows in 2026.
Equity-Driven Tree Planting Program
Trees play an important role in not only combating climate change, but also reducing impacts from heat waves or extreme heat in our more urban communities.
The Board will consider a proposal to develop a program to identify areas in the unincorporated county where tree planting could be prioritized, with an emphasis on planting trees that will reduce urban heat island effect and provide more shade in underserved communities.
Pilot Carbon Farming Program
Our farmers are already doing a lot to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, and the County is looking to identify additional ways they
can be supported to continue and advance these practices. The Board
will be presented options for developing a carbon farming program to
support “carbon farming” practices, or practices that allow for
productive agricultural operations that reduce GHG emissions and
promote soil health. The program will identify the actions the County
can take to incentivize and support these practices.
Energy Resiliency and Equity Report
Many communities in the unincorporated area are at the frontline of climate change impacts such as extreme heat, heat waves, and wildfires. These impacts have additional consequences including power safety shutoffs and increasing energy costs to which our communities are increasingly vulnerable. The Board will have the option to begin identifying recommendations for new programs/incentives to strengthen critical infrastructure in communities to build resiliency to these climate change impacts.
Existing Building Electrification Options Report
The RDF identifies that achieving our aggressive climate change goals will require significant efforts to make our existing buildings more efficient and cleaner. The Board will be presented a proposal to develop a report to understand the types of fuels that are used (e.g., electricity, natural gas, propane), energy needs, and the patterns of energy use in existing buildings. This will help identify options (e.g., rebates, incentives) to help convert and transition existing buildings to use only clean energy sources and reduce GHG emissions.
Hydrogen Fueling Station Report
As vehicle technologies quickly change, the County looks to be ready to support new advancements that will further reduce air pollutants and GHG emissions from larger vehicles like trucks and buses.
The Board will be presented a proposal to analyze the future of hydrogen fueling as a way to reduce air pollutants generated from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that travel through our communities. The report will identify high priority areas where hydrogen fueling stations could be efficiently located.
Participate in the Public Hearing
The Board of Supervisors meeting on August 31, 2022, is open to the public and all are invited to attend to learn more and provide input. As noted, the Board will receive a presentation on these proposed actions, hear public feedback, and consider advancement of these actions. Additional information, including the Board Letter and supporting documentation, will be available from the Clerk of the Board two weeks prior to the Hearing. You can also contact the Sustainability Planning team via email with questions.